Malaita Provincial Premier Daniel Suidani donated the facemasks to the Provincial Health Director Dr. Henry Kako during a brief ceremony held at the premier's office in Auki on Monday.
Speaking during handing over of the masks Premier Suidani said MARA government is trying its best to help Kilu'ufi hospital and other health centres in the province in their preparedness against the COVID-19 threat.
The premier said as a responsible government MARA is trying its best to ensure health centers in Malaita Province have protective gear in place as front liners in the preparedness against COVID.
He said the 5000 facemasks are part of the humanitarian assistance Malaita Province received from the Taiwan government based on the request from MARA government.
The premier thanked Taiwan government for assisting Malaita Province in the wake up of the COVID threat and said humanitarian assistance comes at the right time.
Asked if the facemasks are part of the medical equipment confiscated by police with directives from the Attorney General, the premier said the 5000 facemasks were the first to have arrived through the same arrangement.
"These masks were the first lot that came through humanitarian support via the same address.
"The second lot of medical equipment which was sent through the same address was confiscated by the Police with directives from the national government with reasons only known to them.
"Actually, the MARA government is waiting on a second lot of medical equipment to arrive so that we can hand them over to our provincial health authority to serve its purpose by protecting our health workers, but unfortunately; the national government did not want to see this happen in Malaita so they confiscated the equipment.
"Should the medical equipment was here today, I would have handed them over to our provincial health authority," he added.
Malaita Provincial Health Director Dr.Henry Kako after receiving the facemasks thanked MARA government under the leadership of Premier Suidani for the timely help.
Dr.Kako revealed that Kilu'ufi hospital is running out of facemasks and said this is a timely help from MARA government and Taiwan.
"On behalf of Malaita Provincial Health Authority, I would like to thank the premier and his executive and the provincial assembly for this donation and Taiwan.
"The fact, this comes from Taiwan which shows that we are a friend to all and enemy to none, a government slogan that touches many ordinary people in this country.
"The availability of the medical kits from a non-bilateral friend is a clear show of the slogan and we really appreciate it.
"At the moment we run out of face masks and this donation is timely.
"There is no COVID-19 case here, but there is a flu outbreak in the country at the moment and his face masks are very important to keep out medical staff protected when dealing with patients to minimize flu transmission."
Dr. Kako said some of the facemasks will be distributed to health centers around Malaita Province.
"Please Premier convey our sincere thanks to the government of Taiwan for this support," Dr. Kako said.
With that, he said it is costly for Malaita Province Health to procure such a huge number of masks.
“So we are happy to receive the donation,” he said.